How to read and write messages in landscape orientation on iOS 10

By , Dec 5, 2016

iOS 10 Messages iPhone screenshot 005

Apple’s much improved, expressive Messages app is one of the hallmark new features of iOS 10. We’ve noticed that some people have been wondering if Apple has removed the message compose in landscape mode from Messages on iOS 10.

In iOS 9 and earlier, turning the device upside down allowed you to read and write messages in widescreen mode. On iOS 10, Messages defaults to showing a dedicated interface for handwritten messages in landscape orientation.

Thankfully, iOS 10 still supports reading and composing messages in landscape orientation with a tap of a special button, let us show you how.

By default, Messages on iOS 10 brings up an interface for creating ink-based drawings with your finger when you turn your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch upside down, as you’re seeing on the screenshot embedded right below.

iOS 10 Messages iPhone screenshot 001

To override this behavior, do the following:

How to read and write messages in landscape mode on iOS 10

1) Launch Messages, tap a chat in the conversation list or start a new chat with a contact by tapping the New Message button in the upper right corner of the app.

2) Rotate your device to get to the dedicated interface for creating handwritten messages, which animate like ink flowing on paper.

3) Now tap the handwriting icon in the bottom right corner that resembles a keyboard.

iOS 10 Messages iPhone screenshot 002

4) And just like that, the handwriting interface disappears and your message list appears in landscape mode like on prior editions of iOS.

iOS 10 Messages iPhone screenshot 006

On Plus iPhone models, Messages adopts a two-pane interface in landscape mode, with your message list available in the lefthand column and the contents of the currently selected conversation in the area on the right.

iOS 10 Messages iPhone screenshot 004

Messages will remember your landscape preference across sessions.

5) To get back to the handwriting interface, tap the icon in the bottom right corner of the iPhone’s stock keyboard. If you’re using a third-party keyboard, tap the globe icon to switch to Apple’s QuickType keyboard.

Remember to disable Portrait Orientation Lock in Control Center or your device won’t rotate the interface when it’s turned upside down.

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  • Rodney Coleman

    10.2 fixes that

  • sg1969

    Really, people need to be told to tap the keyboard icon in order bring up the keyboard? Those people shouldn’t be using smartphones or any form of technology.

    • It’s not always obvious. Plus this article will get hits from google searches far into the future.

      • It was so not obvious that me and a few other iDB editors didn’t know about that. And yes, we don’t write 100% of our posts for loyal iDB readers. We also write for the people we hope to turn into loyal readers, and these people usually come from Google, so you are correct 🙂

      • And a very good strategy it is! I now see iDB posts on random google searches, above other more popular Apple sites! I’m proud to be a long-time reader and seeing this growth 🙂

  • carlamc

    The advice here doesn’t work as described on iPhone5s.
    And, why do you call landscape / horizontal holding “upside-down”??? It’s just sideways.